What are the Penalties for Fentanyl Possession?
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 possession of fentanyl is a third-degree crime in the state of New Jersey. A conviction for third degree possession of fentanyl subjects an individual to probation, incarceration in the county jail for up to 364 days, a term in state prison between three and five years and various fines of up to $35,000.00.
The specific penalty that an individual will face for possession of fentanyl will depend on a variety of factors which include the individuals prior record, the amount of fentanyl, and the circumstances in which the fentanyl was possessed. Simple possession, meaning the fentanyl was possessed in a small amount for personal use will result in the potential penalties described above. If the individual does not have a prior record, it is likely that the individual would receive a period of probation and not face further jail time. However, if the individual was in possession of a larger amount of fentanyl and the police or prosecutor allege that the individual possessed the fentanyl with the intent to give or distribute fentanyl it to another person, the penalties can be much more severe and can include jail time.
Defenses to Possession of Fentanyl
There are certain defenses to a possession of fentanyl charge that may be raised. Some common defenses include challenging the reason that the police stopped the individual in the first place and or challenging the evidence that the person was actually in possession of fentanyl.
Under New Jersey law, police officers need reasonable suspicion to stop an individual and question them about any activity. Further, they need probable cause to conduct a search of a person or vehicle and or make an arrest. Often times they are required to obtain a warrant before conducting a search. If the police violate an individual’s constitutional principles, the evidence that they recover may not be used in a prosecution of the individual and the charges will likely be dismissed.
Obviously, the specific facts and circumstances will dictate whether an individual should assert the above defenses. It is therefore important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has successfully raised these constitutional defenses before. At our firm, all of our attorneys have successfully raised constitutional defenses on behalf of charged individuals and have had drug cases dismissed.
Information about Fentanyl
According to the DEA, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is used in the medical community for pain relief. It is significantly more potent than heroin. The drug was first developed in the 1960’s as an anesthetic and has since been sold and distributed by pharmaceutical companies. According to the Center For Disease Control, fatal overdoses have been on the rise in the last several years.
Fentanyl is presently available in oral, tablet, sprays, patches and injectable forms. On the street the drug is typically crushed and snorted or injected via syringe. It is often mixed with heroin and sold on the street as heroin which has been “laced” with fentanyl.
Fentanyl has significant effects on the body. It can make an individual feel euphoric, sedated, drowsy and can make an individual pass out or fall asleep. An overdose of the drug may cause coma, respiratory failure and ultimately death. It has a similar effect on the body as other opioids including oxycodone and morphine.
If you or someone you know has been charged with possession of fentanyl or possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl, call our New Jersey criminal defense firm. Our attorneys represent individuals throughout the state who have been charged with possession of fentanyl.